Daily Devotion for September 25, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our “Virtual Sunday Church” this week takes us to St. John’s Anglican Church in Detroit, Michigan.
1. On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
announces that the Lord is nigh.
Awake and harken, for he brings
glad tidings of the King of kings!
2. Then cleansed be every life from sin:
make straight the way for God within,
and let us all our hearts prepare
for Christ to come and enter there.
3. We hail you as our Savior, Lord,
our refuge and our great reward.
Without your grace we waste away
like flowers that wither and decay.
4. Stretch forth your hand, our health restore,
and make us rise to fall no more.
O let your face upon us shine
and fill the world with love divine.
5. All praise to you, eternal Son,
whose advent has our freedom won,
whom with the Father we adore,
and Holy Spirit, evermore.
Music and Lyrics by Charles Coffin, 1736
Prayer of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye.
Bless me to remember you this day. When I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer to Stand Together in Service
Heavenly Father, make me an instrument of your grace. Weave my life together with the lives of all who confess the name of your Son, Jesus, into a holy garment to cover the world; let us be as bricks in a great lighthouse to guide the entire world to you, to your love and your forgiveness. Help us to overcome differences that come from our sinful nature, so that we may be welded together in a holy priesthood, standing as a testimony to purity, goodness, and forgiveness. Bless me and those who pray with me now, that although we cannot see or hear one another, we may be bonded in your Holy Spirit.
[What does it mean to be an instrument of God’s grace?]
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 130:5-6 (NKJV)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)
The Hardest Obligation of a Christian
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Notes on the Scripture
o my mind, this is the hardest thing Christ commands us to do during our lives. But there is no doubt about what He is saying, because it is repeated time and time again, by Christ Himself, throughout the Gospels. When somebody does something mean or cruel or harmful to us, we are expected to forgive them for it. When our “enemies” do us harm, we must not try to hurt them back. And when somebody we don’t know or who doesn’t like us or who has done terrible things to us in the past is in need, we must help them. We must love them.
All I can say is: Good luck! This is the hardest thing in the world. I probably spend more time praying about this duty than anything else. It just runs contrary to our deepest nature.
One situation we face often in life is when our pride is hurt by something somebody has done or said. Perhaps they merely contradicted something we said, or made a comment that seemed critical of us. In these situations, the amount of anger we feel is usually blown way out of proportion to the purported offense. I have certainly been furious about comments that the person didn’t even mean to be unflattering—I just misunderstood them!
In such situations, praying for the person really helps, especially over time if you repeat it again and again. Pray for whatever it is that would make you feel sick for the person to get. Pray that they get a raise at work or become famous, or that they lose weight — something that gets you right in the same part of your brain where the anger is coming from, your sinful pride. You will find that the harder you pray for them to do well, and the harder you pray that you can forgive them, the less and less angry you will become. Even in life, this is a two-edged sword. Harboring resentments, anger, and hatred hurts the person who is angry, usually more than the person against whom the anger is directed.